Pilotki manifesto

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Pilotki manifesto

Dear pilots of various
feminist projects, Plotkist_innen, femmes and emanziplots, I got this dream that I would like to keep still a bit secret but already tell at least to you: Together with others, I would like to do a Pilotki project, and we hope that some of you are interested in connecting with it in the context of the Plotki fem(inist) zine in one or another way and, in addition, to think with us about the idea of Pilotkis-Pilotinnen.

This is the first conceptual draft for a pilotki manifesto discussed by the Plotki femzine participants, and I invite you to criticise and realise it together with us. In the first part of the following, the manifesto will tell you about the pilotki fashion project and about the design of Pilotinnen-uniforms. In the second part follows a call a call to artists and artists to be to produce material for a Pilotki video project that brings together peoples from various contexts to investigate the cultural space in between us and which should, linked to the Plotki femzine, invite

The idea of Pilotki comes from the image, the fantasies that came
to my mind every time I heard the word „Plotkistinnen.” Plotkistinnen, for me that word sounds a bit like a group of pilots or professional workers in a cosmonaut station, helicopter pilots. I imagined women bus drivers or gardeners. After these images, there came other associations: pictures of women-pilots who were courageously flying
across the oceans in the early 20th century, and whom I saw on old photographs in black and white, smiling into the camera, very beautiful and in their ways, strong. The old time Pilotinnen are magic idols for the fearsome person I am, unable to fly even as a passenger without getting cold, sweaty hands. Pilots. I think on pilotkis when I listen to the word ‘Plotkistinnen.’ This is just my personal association – maybe you associate something completely different to the word ‘Plotkistinnen’ – but for me, knowing the work and seeing the Plotkisty, this is the picture that comes up. Pilots. Beautiful and particular ones.


On the picture:
Pilot Amelia Earhart


So first came the association,
the image, the airy floating energy behind the words. Then I was thinking more
pragmatically how we could a bit more promote Plotki to the public sphere. The public sphere in terms of a
broader, still alternative, but still a bit broader, public sphere. I was
thinking on the cool Euromayday campaign, originally founded in Milano in 2001,
who managed to get 100.000 supporters on their parade on May 1 in the streets
of Milan, plus
several thousands of virtual protesters on their homepage. Euromayday activists
attracted this big participation just because they had good visual ideas (look at euromayday.org, google
chainworkers, take a look, e.g. on the Hamburg
homepage and their posters with the cyber putzfrau, androgyneous activists and
so on).


What the activists from
Euromayday did was to turn their own and others difficult precarious life situations into a positive image of the
‘Imbattibili’, fragile heroes of precarity. Precarity and the political mobilization against a precarisation of work and life
situations are newly used concepts from the recently emerging protest movement
for social equality and better work conditions in Europe.
There are the emerging transnational movements of precarious workers and/or
students, people from different contexts, who work without stable contracts
and/or live from one scholarship to another, search for work. Some of them are highly
skilled but easy to replace and fire; others are in a much worse situation like
migrants who risk to be illegalised and othered in many ways in the system we
live in. Not only in Europe, persons begin to
protest against precarisation of life and work. I really think that the ongoing
student protests in France
cannot be understood without the consciousnous-raising influence of the ideas
of an ongoing “precarisation, précarité, precarietà”, nor can the success of
the Euromayday parades in Milano, Barcelona and Paris in terms of mass
mobilisation be separated from public visibility and good visual ideas. Some
few though creative activists from squats in Milano have surprisingly changed
the public discourse on labour conditions within EUrope, which cannot be seen
separately from EUrope’s Outside and an increasing unfair world economic order
based on profit and exploitation without borders.


One of the best ideas of
Euromayday for creating vizibility,
I think, was to go beyond the negative position of ‘being against’ something,
against precarity, against capitalism, against neoliberalism. Euromayday goes
beyond the past strategies within the Left by creating the positive icons of
the „imbattables“ (imbatibili/die unschlagbaren) who are a set of maybe 18 heroes
of precarity in the form of stickers that were distributed to the Euromayday
demonstrators in Milano last year. Stickers
that could be brought together in a sticker album, like for soccer. Here are some of my favourite stickers, downloaded
from the homepage www.chainworkers.org/imbattibili/.



The imbattibles are little stickers heroes who stand for professions or
activist groups in Milano who suffer from precarious work conditions or who are
in other ways activists struggling for recognition in society. For instance
migrant workers, inhabitants of the periphery, nurses, firemen, doctors,
chainworkers, groups of queer activists, artists, flex-creative-workers. There
are two very successful sticker-figures among the others, that is: Serpica Naro & San Precario

Serpica Naro was a
campaign that took place two weeks before the actually happening of the
Euromayday parade on May 1 2005, in which the Milanese Euromayday activists
manage a big coup within the Milanese
fashion fair
: They were gossiping to journalists and fotografers the coming out of a new super-cool and young
fashion designer from Japan, the mysterious Serpica Naro
, who would present
her collection on the Milano fair. All journalists came to Serpica Naro’s fair
and found themselves in an activists’ campaign, surrounded by young women who
were blaming precarious work conditions in Italy but dressing in very fancy
clothes designed by themselves, defiling on the fashion walk (Laufsteg?)
towards the stupefied journalists. These images entered the newspapers and
television and then helped to provoke the mass-mobilisation within the
Euromayday parade. Serpica Naro by the way is
San Precario. Serpica Naro is the anagram of San Precario, the holy
protest icon who even made it to the world meeting of the catholic church in
Köln last spring and onto the laptop backgrounds of some of my Italian


From Serpica Naro to the Pilotki project

What does this all have to do
with plotki feminism? From Serpica
Naro to the Plotkistinnen-Pilotinnen framework comes the idea to create one or
better two, three, four image(s)/icon(s) of Plotkistinnen as Pilotinnen, or
pilotkis. I propose a Plotkistin-Pilotin
associated conceptualisation because I feel that many Pilotinnen I know live a life of trying to pilot their way through
big cities
, different countries and without having a lot of perspectives as
artists and scientists or activists or journalists in an economically wealthy
world though in a system creating individualist responsibilisation and hardship
(e.g. if you don’t have a health insurance because you don’t earn enough and so on). I was always
getting angry about those who are telling us that we are an a-political
generation, that is why I also like the idea of having positive hero images,
and that is why I propose to adopt them to the plotki art repertoire. We could change something if we do
, if we become a little bit proud
of piloting through life
. Maybe we could also inspire some more people that
way, instead of staying in our melancholic little cocon. To jest kokon. By writing this critical thought on
melancholy, I don’t mean that I would like to exclude sadness. Sadness can be
very productive, especially for doing art. Anyhow, I believe that the hope
aspect should be the motor of the pilotki project, the core. Then flying will
be easier.


On the picture: one of the first pilots


Short time perspective: We create our own Pilotki

To give a visual reflection of
the concept of Pilotki-pilots, we begin slowly. We could for instance make our
own fashion, we could design icons that would be printed on tissue, clothes that we could wear
ourselves and/or sell at the release party of the feminist zine. !! So we
could earn money that we will use for doing a collective and international seminar

On the picture: Soviet pilots


There are
already some proposals like to create feminist pilotki-uniforms, in other words, to design a collective outfit for
usually invisible and individualised precarious workers of many contexts. We
will create pilotki fashion based on
working overalls or other work clothes, Arbeiterinnenuniformen. This is not expensive. We can print it.Pilotki
fashion would be the fashion by pilotki for pilotki. We will use cotton because it meets our needs and we find it sexy. We
will talk about our fashion and stop the silence of women about problems that
concern women first of all. Thus, we propose cotton anti-yeast infection underwear. We don’t want synthetic
glamour. We want to wear cotton overalls like Amelia Earhart, the American
pilot on the picture does, because cotton feels comfy and strong. Pilotki fashion aims at changing shapes because
bodies are ‘recognised’ and divided phenomenologically according to shapes. In
doing so, we
follow our idols, the Russian avantgardist artists Varvara Stepanova and Ljubov Popova whose objective was to
design clothes for another future.



Long time perspective: the dream of producing
pilotki movies

More than
that, I would actually also, in a longer perspective, like to invite you to do
pilotki videos and movies on, as and with pilots in different countries.
Anyhow, I would like to show strong and weak women in their diversity of
piloting through sometimes harsh life conditions and windy weathers and I
invite you to make vizible what you see, too. I would like to show what I see
and break the common stereotypes of women shown in the soaps. By this, I don’t
mean that I would like to only show women who drive busses or aviators, or
Bundeswehr soldiers. I would like to focus on the uncovered hidden pilot in
women who appear the most adapted and superficial and stereotypical of the
world. To show them in moments you don’t see on TV. To show the paradox, the


Trinh Minh-ha



By the
pilotki-initiative, we could give to women
themselves an image of themselves that will surprise them
, like showing
themselves through a mirror they have never seen before. Maybe frightening them
a little bit, too. This sounds quite big and utopistic, but maybe I would like
to be a bit utopistic. Maybe pilotki movies will remain nothing but an idea,
but I thought if I don’t invite others, I will anyway forget about it and be
too lazy (and too buzy with professional work) to realise it. Therefore I write
this manifesto to you so that at least I have said it and maybe there are some
among you/people who you know who would like to help me doing the pilot dream
project, and then other people, movie makers, artists, journalists will realise
some of these ideas – especially as pilotki will get only interesting if there
is a Dialogue of images and not a


Then we could
also network, do common seminars, maybe we would find energy of people who have
talent in getting money for doing this J
common seminars for participants from different countries and backgrounds somewhere,
where we discuss and edit our movie-video-art-documentary and whatever Pilotki
projects. I would like to get to know interested people who I don’t know yet…


Finally, I would like to add
that the ideas I just spoke out are open to both women and men in terms of
participating. The first addressees of the Manifesto-draft are you, the readers
of the Plotki femzine. This long dream project and storm of brains, of ideas is
strongly connected with my gemeinsame Erfahrungen mit Plotkistinnen, like
seeing you all doing fantastic creative and conceptual and organisational work,
quarreling with you, thinking about and with you, and so on. For instance in
listening to Isa’s deconstruction of gender stereotypes in plotki-boys talk, or
like being surprised by the girl who had hanged up plotki-boys portraits in the
women’s toilet of our last release party, or like talking with Anna on the way
gender enters the speech of couples, or like reading Novak’s text including the
Schnurrbärtige Liebesaffären, or like being called a girl with a “perfect
house-wife education” or a “sacrifice-yourself-type-of-woman” by Magda, or like
watching Anne’s movies about her grandma and of all of all of your acting.
Then, between Christmas and the New Year, I was dreaming a dream about an
artist who had done the following short movie, and I woke up instantly when it


Movie: The scenery was like
this: Two women, adult, in the mud. In front of destroyed houses. The mud is
deep, half a meter deep, and you can sink in it, like in a bath of balls for
children. Oh, this mud smells good… mmmm! So good! Like forest-wood, but like
earth as well. The adult women actually stand in the mud of their past, their
childhood. Actually, the mud is an old fighting space of theirs. In this mud
the actors were fighting with hands full of mud when they were children. Like
ringers, not boxers, very muddy… One of them comes towards the camera. She
goes down on her knees, she looks, she touches the earth, the mud. Deeply, she
takes her hands and fills it with the scummy earth. She breathes. Then she
smiles. She says: Yes, we did it, and you don’t know exactly what she means by
this, but I interpreted it as: yes, we,
as children, including us girls, we were fighting in this mud, deeply. Yes,
maybe we were poor (destroyed houses), yes, maybe we got muddy, but: we did it.
It’s also, in my interpretation like she did something by fighting that did not
confirm the social expectation, that’s what her smile somehow reveals a bit
is no regret in her eyes and fists full of muddy scum. Then, up in the eye of
the camera appears the second adult. She is not full of mud, she is cleaner,
more reserved. She stands in a clean room, maybe in a house or an office. She
has a more rational type of speech and there is no smile, rather: neutrality,
maybe also rejection, just a bit… She says something, I think it was: Yes, we
did it, but it was nothing but children games. Nothing particular. Just one
sentence, but a very sharp one. That’s the end of the movie I watched during my
dream and I don’t know yet what it means, but I thought it would be good to
start a video project because of this dream, maybe. Thanks a lot if you could
keep this draft of a pilotki manifesto in mind during the coming days and
months, and even more if you like to write something back, and/or do something
together in the long or short term.


Many friendly greetings from Berlin,







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